Which wedding vendors you should book first and other tips

Engagement season is upon us, and if you’re planning a wedding for 2024, you might just find that vendors are booking fast. Waiting too long to book your vendors can mean that the vendors you want to work with, that most importantly, are in your budget range, are unavailable. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, fall and spring are prime times to book your wedding. Make sure you’re booking early for these dates. Many vendors book more than a year in advance for this time of the year. 

Booking your vendors in this order will help you alleviate stress because each can be helpful to your wedding planning process.

Planner/coordinator (if you have the budget for one)

18 months out

A wedding planner isn’t for everyone, but if you have the budget, they can help you navigate the wedding planning process. Vendors spend more time than anyone thinking about weddings and your planner will have all of the advice you could possibly want. Remember, it will all still be your decision, but they can be there to guide you through the process.

Many people opt to have a day-of-coordinator instead. This is great for the brides and grooms with a type A personalities that want everything to go as planned, but need someone to take control so they can enjoy their wedding day. Once you hire a day-of-coordinator, they will meet with you to understand the expectations and you can trust that they have your back on your wedding day.

There are many venues that offer coordination through the venue, but it is important to remember that they are often very hands off. They will make sure that things work for the venue and will be your point of contact for any questions that arise that pertain to the logistics for the venue. They will not decorate for you or help you if something comes up that was unexpected.

Planners and day-of-coordinators work closely with other vendors and get to know so many of them. They will have great recommendations for you as you begin to plan your wedding for who to book. That is the number one reason that you should book your wedding planner first.

Planners and coordinators get a lot of practice setting things up and if they are given lots of time, they can really work their magic!

Paige and her daugther from The Events Paige created this materpiece with extra florals from the day. Coordinators and planners add that extra touch that takes your wedding to jaw dropping.


18 months out

After you’ve decided whether you are going to have a planner or coordinator, it is time to book your venue. This is essential, because you need that to confirm the date that you will get married. Go into it with a few dates in mind if you’re set on a specific venue so that you can pick the one that works for both your schedule and the venue’s schedule. 

Just like planners, venues see a lot of wedding vendors and they will have recommendations for clients. I find their catering recommendations to be super helpful, because each venue has its own set up and it is nice to know that a venue has worked with catering staff before.


12-18 months (I recommend as soon as you have your venue selected)

I’m a little biased here, but photographers are an important part of the vibe of your day. When it comes to your timeline, your interactions with your wedding party and family, and creating moments for you and your spouse to spend time together, this all comes down to how your photographer approaches your wedding day. 

They also create the only thing that you can take with you and add as art to your home. Think about what styles of photography you like, the tones you like to have in your home, the colors you plan to have incorporated into your wedding day, and select a list of photographers that seem to have the same vibe as you.

If you’re looking for what to ask your photographer when you are hiring them, take a look at this blog so you’re prepared for what to expect.

After you’ve booked these three major vendors, the rest will tend to fall into place. You’ll get recommendations from your planner, venue, and your photographer for other vendors that you will need to book. They can provide tips about what to look for in each vendor if you need them, and they’re happy to help! They want your day to go as smoothly as you do!

After booking your planner, your venue, and your photographer, move down this list to secure your vendors.

Caterer/Food Trucks

12 months out

I’ve loved how creative people have gotten in recent years regarding food at their wedding. From creative dessert ideas to delicious, unique food items, people have really embraced food as a way to personalize their wedding day and make a fun experience for their guests.


12 months out

Just like a photographer helps set the vibe for your day, so does your florist. Your florist will listen to the colors that you want implemented into your wedding day and can really tie things together for you. I always recommend asking your florist to prioritize seasonal flowers so that you can have a unique gallery that fits the time of year, and the place you have decided to get married.


12-10 months out

When it comes to the evening portion of the day, your DJ takes over in setting the tone for the day. Make sure you pick someone who’s energy matches the vibe you’re going for. There is a whole gamot of styles that DJs take on when they are running a reception. Some tend to be hands off, while others make it their goal to keep everyone of all ages entertained throughout the evening. Don’t be afraid to ask them what a typical night looks like for them!


12-10 months out

Finally, if your venue doesn’t provide any of the essentials, like tables, chairs, heaters, and tents you’ll want to rent those. These are important to make sure you have secured and that you understand the logistics of the process. Will you have to pick them up? Will someone deliver and set up these items for you? Be sure to think through all of the questions that you have before hopping on the call with these providers.

Let's recap!

Here is the order that I recommend for booking your wedding vendors.

  1. Planner
  2. Venue
  3. Photographer
  4. Caterer/food trucks
  5. Florist
  6. DJ
  7. Rentals